I have solved x, but cannot find y

(Is it thirty-nine? Or perhaps forty-five?)

So I give up on my homework entirely

And push binomial theorem aside

To posit you a more dreaded query

Quietly, I scribble down my inquiry

As you sit nearby, very unwary

Working at some higher level symmetry

(That is, a conic function imaginary)

Ah, but to return to days of geometry

When we were the same, neither more extraordinary

To think that you used to ask for my assistance-

Truly, our pasts are too far from our presents.

But now, a different challenge I hope to complete-

Requesting that we might at our high school prom meet.

Zounds! Alack! The entire softball team!

Into the room together, they all stream

"Art thou ready for the game?" they scream

I answer yes quickly, to hide my scheme

Out upon it! Aroint thee! Finally, they leave

A sigh of relief I finally breathe

And hope to ask - by your leave -

If you might chance

To attend the dance

And my lack of grace you will not bereave -

Fie! A mutual friend, herein she strides

And sits down directly next to my right side

Awkward does not begin to describe

Her companionship in this fateful time

With disillusion, my question I do erase

Leaving you to calculate that isosceles triangle's base

As you had been doing in the first place.

"But wait," the angel and demon complain

"Oh why do you wait? Why extend the pain?

How long exactly do you plan to delay?"

Miffed, I demand "And if the answer is nay?"

"It can't be all that bad," they relate

"Yes, were it not for the presence of KATE.

Fie, oh why did she come to spectate?"

"Calm down," the angel and demon stipulate

As you separate and differentiate

"Let us instead concentrate

On ending this stalemate

So go for the flood gate

And simply acclimate!"

Very well, I sigh, and forgive my au pair

I'll just have to pretend that she is not there

"I can't solve this problem," I coyly declare

"Could you help me answer it?" You look up, unaware

I hope for a swift response in my prayer -

And my tattered math book, in all of its splendor

To you, I wordlessly do surrender

Your grasp your calculator, and silently squint

Then frown, and reach for a paper spare

Perhaps to subtly write a hint

A rain check, no doubt, you will prepare

"Slow reader?" I joke, to ease the tension

Curious, our friend does remark and stare

And I hope you will not draw her attention

(Oh Kate, I know, we go everywhere

And there is nothing that we do not share

But right now I wish she were in a further chair

So that she might not see my face filled with despair

Can she hear me? I hope. I mouth. I glare.)

But you - holding the math book, unheard,

Having spent three minutes without saying a word

(Please just say no, and not a charge will be incurred!)

But wait! You put your pencil down and stir

Your mouth opens, once more, you are alive

"I must confess, that right now I've

Got no idea whether x is thirty-nine or forty-five.

But give me just a few more seconds to strive -

And within time, the answer I will derive."

My jaw drops. I gape, at the situation absurd

To think you looked at the math instead- what a nerd!

"No, no, not that one!" I point, and dread

"This question!" I finish, and wish I were dead

You squint and look down, angling your head

To see the part of the paper you have not read-

"Would you mind going with me to prom?" was all it said.

"You are a slow reader," I remark, my face a bright red.

"Oh..." You mutter, enlightened and demure.

I wait. You smile. You shrug. "Sure!"

The angel and demon, they both shout "Amen!"

And the sunlight filters in, like a warm, bright friend

I smile back and sigh. Relief. But, just then

You frown. "Wait. What day is prom again?"

My palm smacks my forehead. I knew this would happen.

"Same day as the SATs. You know when."

"Oh," you reply, "sorry, I can't go.

Maybe I can come next year, though."

"And that," I finish, "is exactly how it went."

The softball team stares at me with mild discontent.

"After that I signed up for the SAT

And asked my darling, wonderful friend Kate

To come with me to prom as a date."

"Um, third baseman," the coach does sigh

"I asked you to try to make me laugh, not cry."